Posted by: jeanne | February 3, 2015

another unsuccessful trip for art supplies

this time i left jim and connor at home, and while i was out, he started and finished yet another painting.  i’m going to have to update his blog soon.  it was another acqua alta high tide, so i spent the vaporetto ride outside, taking pictures of houses i really love, tho i’ve already taken them.

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the day was bright, and warmed up rapidly.  the temperature change here is about 10F, going down to about 35 at night, and up to 45 in the daytime, which is wonderful winter weather for me.  i really love 45 degrees, as long as i’m dressed for it.

i had the rolly cart that is used for groceries.  it is part of the contents of the house, and tho rather small by comparison to the large sizes people use for their big shops, it looked to be large enough to stuff stuff into.

i took the number 6 bus from piazalle roma, but didn’t find the free luxury coach to panorama anywhere, nor the b9 bus stop advertised in a post written a few years ago.  so i asked at the information center, and was told to take the 6 and get off at san antonio, then take another bus.  when i asked which other bus, the lady shrugged and said, the bus to panorama (of course).

so i got on the 6, and we went over the causeway and turned left into the residential section of marghera, which starts out as marine freight and other industrial things, and then gives way to neighborhoods.  it was rather a shock to see basements in these houses, because just 6 miles away, that’s an impossibility.  but here, they have cars, and basements, and a large immigrant population who don’t speak much italian.  mostly they seem to come from the middle east and northern africa, but how am i to know…

once i got off, i consulted my map app, and decided i wasn’t too far from the testolini store that advertises itself as huge – 1200 square meters – with tons of free parking, for all your art and office supply needs.  it’s on via giuseppe paganello, which on my map, stretched out toward the water along the north side of the railroad.  on the map, it looked straightforward enough – all i had to do was cross the tracks, and there were several roads that did just that.

however.  the road next to the tracks turned out to be a major highway, a triple decker highway, with loads of heavy truck traffic and the world-renowned italian drivers.  it looked manifestly unsafe, so i had to rethink.  at extreme magnification, there seemed to be a sottopasso – an underpass – so i backtracked off the entrance ramp and made a detour toward the underpass.  which was cool – separate walking and bike lanes, and as it went under the trains, there were lots of stairways to the individual tracks, because the walkway went under the station.  and once past that, it angled up, and i was on the other side.

checking my map app showed that i had to go east a considerable way.  when jim and i were planning this trip, we thought we would take the baby and the stroller, and make a group effort of it, but i’m really glad they stayed home, because it was a several mile walk along streets with no or parked-upon sidewalks, and i managed to go down the wrong branch of the street almost to the end, before figuring out i was in the wrong place and starting the walk back.  halfway back i learned that the street makes a branch to the right, something i hadn’t seen before (every block might be named a different street, and they certainly don’t branch off anywhere i’ve been).  anyway, i found the store.

and was immediately disappointed.  in the window were the usual high end leather bags, in the center aisle were the usual handmade books and expensive gifts, and filling fully half the store’s vaunted 1200 sm was a cafe.  i went in anyway, and found the art supplies.  there was oil paint, watercolor paint, and i had to ask where the pastels were.  it turned out that there were only starter sets, no loose pastels, and they looked at me like i was insane when i asked about it.  probably because my italian doesn’t run to ‘i want soft pastels by the single stick’.

anyway, my venture was in vain, but they had a bathroom, so at least i got something out of it.  so to speak.  and then it was walking back the way i had come.  but this time i didn’t have to cross under the tracks on foot, because the tram that goes to panorama also goes north and south from mestre to marghera.  it’s a red tram, it looks new, it says panorama on the front of it, because that’s the end of the line.  and it stops at san antonio.  so i got on after a bit of a wait, and when i got off, about half an hour later, i could feel a blister forming on my little toe.

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i got a cart (you have to put a euro in the handle to get it unstuck from the others, and when you return it and stick it to the others, you get your euro back).

the shopping center i was headed to is called panorama, and it’s like walmart, with italian food and not quite as much choice available in the other departments.  there was no green goblin, and no scooter, for example.  i got connor several pairs of socks, some the no slip kind, because the floors in the house are marble tile, and some regular cotton socks because he runs right thru them running around in the house.

then i went for the food.  three different types of cheese, 2 different salamis and sausages, including the famous mortadella, which i’ve never had.  i finally found lamb – shanks, which i will have to get a recipe for.  i also got a sandwich – ham of some kind, likely proscuitto, and fresh mozerella on half a baguette.

then i found some oats for jim (very rare, and these turned out to be a presentation metal tin of quick cooking white oats, quaker brand, of course).  like the peanut butter, it seems italians don’t have a taste for oatmeal.

i got several types of cookies, because i’ve developed a sweet tooth here.  and soy sauce, and black rice, and some raddichio, some strawberries and a bunch of pears on sale for a euro.  other stuff.

by the time i was heading to the checkout, i surveyed the food, and it seemed just a little too much to stuff into the bag, so i put back the whole chicken and the bag of whole wheat flour, and when i checked out, it turned out to be a good thing, because i had just enough room to fit everything.  it was quite a lot, because the total was twice or three times what i usually spend at the market.  even so, the prices were uniformly less than what i spend at the local coop store or the billa store on lido, so i’ll be going back.

as i was packing up, i heard the sound of metal grinding, and turned to find a little bottega that made duplicate keys.  since we’re having house guests soon, we need another set of keys, so i thought it was the perfect time to deal with that.  turns out, however, that for the first time since i’ve been here, i had forgotten my keys.  so i’ll have to go back next week, before marie arrives.

the trip back to venice on the tram and the number 6L was uneventful.  i ate most of my sandwich, and tried bacala, which is made from (rehydrated) dried cod that they produce in iceland.  i’d been wanting to try it.  the fish is chewy, but the stuff tastes good, and i ate it all.  in the middle of the trip on the tram, we encountered an immovable obstacle – a delivery truck parked with its butt end in the way of the tram.  we sat there for 10 minutes, the driver continuously using the horn, until a sheepish looking guy ran out of a shop where he’d probably been passing time with the staff, and ran his truck way up on the sidewalk to get away from the nose of the tram.  the driver might have been tempted to nudge him out of the way, because he was clearly over the red painted area on the street that marked the exact width of the tram.  but i didn’t care; i ate my sandwich.

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once back in venice, i took the number 1 vaporetto.  it was now getting on for 4 o’clock.  i had left the house at 9:30 to take advantage of the high tide, and now it was low tide, so i took pictures of my favorite houses with all their foundations exposed.  i got a few pictures of the sun preparing to set behind the salute and guidecca.

and then i was home, rapping on the window to get jim to let me in.  the groceries got unpacked, jim went out with the camera to catch another sunset, and after a rest and a half pint of guinness (my splurge), i made dinner of polenta and mushrooms with the rest of the baked chicken i made several days ago.

and that was my epic and unsuccessful shopping trip for art supplies.  today i’m staying at home, and sent jim out to take his own pictures of the high tide.  it was supposed to be exceptional yesterday, but i didn’t see that.  it’s supposed to be exceptional (120cm) thursday again, but it’s also supposed to be raining.  the full moon is tomorrow, which of course influences the tides.

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